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Step-daughter vs. Daughter

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I have an unusual situation. I have searched for something similar out there but have thus far been unsuccessful.

I have been married to my husband now for 3 years. We were both full time single parents when we met. He had one only daughter and so did I....almost the exact same age! It all seemed so neat when we met.....our girls could play together.

Wow. Where to start? Well.....I do get jealous of my SD (both girls are now 11). Mostly though, it is jealousy FOR my daughter. My SD is very smart and has that fire red hair that is such an attention getter wherever we go. My daughter really struggles and has to study very hard to make AB honor roll. My SD makes almost all A's and hardly ever has to study. This is great for SD.......not so great for my daughter.

My SD is a social butterfly, she's great. My daughter, who I have adored since birth, is more shy and reserved. So when we go anywhere, my SD gets soooo much attention. I try to tell myself that it's ok, all kids are different. But, it drives me completely insane when she is consistently the center of attention in just about every crowd and my daughter is back in the shadows. I have started working with my daughter on shyness. But, I think that's just who she is meant to be and that is fine with me. I just wish the rest of the world would recognize that DD is just as great as SD!

I know it does not matter what other people think but trust me......11 year old girls see this stuff and it matters to them. My SD gets so full of herself when this happens and it only pushes my DD more into the corner.

My husband doesn't believe this is a big deal and that there's not anything we can do about it.

Does anyone have any advice on what to do with completely different children (step-sisters that are exactly the same age)? One gets sooo much attention and the other is usually left out? The attention getter knows exactly what she is doing too. This matters to my daughter, she wants some of that attention as well.

Please help. There is so much more but I'll stop here for now.
post #2 of 32
First of all, does this bother your DD as much as it bothers you? Some people need to be the star of the show, and others are perfectly content to work behind the scenes. That song 'You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings' comes to mind Do the girls get along well together most of the time?

If DSD is purposefully making your DD feel bad about grades/ looks/ ect then that obviously needs addressed first.

Are the girls involved in any sort of activities? Maybe DD needs an activity all her own, a place where she has the opportunity to shine by herself. Art classes, drama, sports?

Hope this helps a little!
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice.

It probably does bother me more......but it still bothers my DD. Although they are the same age my SD is more emotionally mature than Dd. So, she is better at expressing the things that bother her. DD, true to her nature, keeps most of her feelings to herself. I don't feel it's at unhealthy level.

All advice is welcome.

Is there someone who was the sister or step-sister in a similar situation. I would love advice from both sides.
post #4 of 32
Yep, in a similar situation here. My two sc are the same ages as my biokids. The younger two are both girls and very different. SD is very outgoing; DD is much more shy. They either get along great or they are at each other's throats. We really just try to focus on their individual strengths and encourage them to be who they want/need to be. We try really hard not to compare them. I work on empowering my DD because I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. If she can reach that point then it shouldn't matter what her sisters do or don't do, right?

I'm sure it's hard for you--and you are probably right that it is harder for you than for your DD. Our mama bear instinct can't help but kick in, but try to just focus on your DD. If she senses that you are bothered by it then she may misinterpret your reaction to mean that she should be more like her step-sister, which isn't what you want at all.
post #5 of 32
I would work really hard to focus on your daughter's strengths. You know they are there, and most likely know what they are. You just don't think of those strengths as being as legitimate as your step-daughter's strengths.

For example, as she works hard for those As and Bs, your daughter is developing skills and persistance that she needs to overcome difficulty. Your step-daughter doesn't have the opportunity to develop those skills right now, and is less like to perservere when faced with a challenge later on.

Before you can really help her be comfortable in her own skin, I think you have to be comfortable with who she is and recognize her strengths all on their own rather than as they compare to other people. I just heard a great quote recently: "The only thing you get when you work hard to strengthen your weaknesses is really strong weaknesses." Strengthen her strengths, and she can use her natural strengths to tap into the the parts of her temperment that come less naturally to her.

I also agree with the idea of making sure she is able to try out activities that are all hers.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotamom View Post
Is there someone who was the sister or step-sister in a similar situation. I would love advice from both sides.
I had a younger half sister. She was 3 years younger than I was. There was a lot of competition. She was/is logical, a great debater, tall, blonde, long legged, thin, smart, witty, clever. She often got out of trouble with her quick responses and wearing our mom down with her locigal arguments. I was/am emotional, sensitive, overly sensory, fat, brown haired (didn't look like mom or stepdad, and my older brother doesn't count!), only thought of something witty after the fact and lacked all that gracious confidence and polite manner that my sister had.

I think what would have been nice for me and avoided competition would have been if my mother hadn't pointed out our differences asked me why I couldn't be more like my sister, or could have seen my characteristics as good, instead of bad. If I had been appreciated for my emotional nature, taught that it was something to be proud of, that certainly would have been nice.
post #7 of 32
One has an easier time with studies and making friends (Zachary). His brother has to focus more to get things done and is more of a loner at school (Trevor). They are both ten and in the same grade.

One thing we do is to make sure is that Trevor is told frequently and shown how well he does on things that Zachary struggles with. We also make a bigger deal when Trevor does well on tests because Zachary realizes it is harder for Trevor on some things. We bring Zachary into the praising when we can as well. We have also found a few things that Zachary struggles with and brings to his attention to show him what Trevor goes through as well...to make it more real for Zachary.

You have a make a conscious effort to make sure both kids realize their strengths and can draw on those strengths.

We also have to watch with Trevor that he tries a variety of things even though he will sometimes jump to my brother will do it better. Band is our big thing right now. Our boys both tried out for percussion...Trevor didn't make it for percussion and Zachary did. Trevor automatically wanted to drop out of band completely because Zachary made the one they wanted. We have let Trevor know that he is good at trumpet and he is giving that a try (even though he isn't necessary convinced) to show him he can succeed.

It is just a matter of really praising both boys for their strengths.
post #8 of 32
My sister (not a step sister) is 1.5 years younger than me (but especially now its hard to tell who is older). She has gorgeous red hair that absolutely draws attention everywhere we go. As a child, I noticed it, and I grew up hating red hair -- but aside from that, it didn't necessarily bother me. I was blonde with blue eyes, so not too far off. I was also very shy and my sister was very outgoing, so yes, she took in all the attention.

My issues were with the fact that my sister often had a lot of friends. I couldn't seem to make friends. But usually -- we played with the same friends together, so it wasnt a huge issue.

We are now best friends.

I would suggest trying to work with your DD, find out how she really feels about it, and work from there. Your post did not indicate that your SD is causing problems or has a bad attitude about things, so I think I would just work with your DD to embrace her own great qualities and focus on developing and becoming herself, you know? Not everyone is outgoing and personable, but thats okay.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who has posted.

There is definitely a sense of peace in knowing that your feelings are normal and understandable.

My daughter is involved in a sport that I believe she will be very good at if I can just get her to believe that.

Most everyone suggests on focusing on my daughters strengths. This is something that I have definitely tried to focus on. Now, my SD is not cruel or evil but one thing she is, is competitive. If she sees that my DD is getting attention over something she will copy or try to best her. And, due to her abilities in most cases she can.

Kirei and Purity Lake have just about mirrored the situation. My DD does have much more trouble making friends than my SD. This is so troubling for a mother. Even if it's just one good friend......I need/want her to have that. It's so important. And yes, they normally end up playing with the same friends. I worry that she is becoming too socially dependent on her SS, further inhibiting her own progress.

And Purity Lake......WOW! My SD can really charm her way out of trouble with her father. If there are any dads that could help me to show my husband he can't let one finagle their way out of trouble and punish the other just because SD said something cute or clever.

Thanks again and keep 'em comin'!
post #10 of 32
I don't have 2 daughters, but a ds and a dsd, and we have a similar thing going on.

DS gets away with murder at school and socially. Part of it is looks, I think, and part of it is that he's funny. School comes easily to him like it always did for me. He glides right through almost everything and frankly, I think he's a little bit obnoxious when it comes to interacting with peers. But they let him get away with it, and I'm trying to build dsd's confidence and help her deal with little girl dramas....and she sees him getting rewarded when he doesn't do anything 'right' socially.

Dsd has the double whammy of being chubby and behind in school, and learned a lot of manipulative behaviors from her bio-family. She gets sucked into dramas where other little girls are pushing her around and she just comes back for more. It drives me crazy when she won't stand up for herself.

Consequently, I wish she could be just a little more like him socially, but not so much that she becomes obnoxious. I don't know how to communicate that correctly, or how to make them both see what they're doing 'wrong.'

He's a little easier because we can remind him not to ignore people, help refine his social graces a little. She's more difficult because how can we tell her to act like him when he's not acting the way I would like either? She needs to care a little less what people think or say, and he needs to be a lot more considerate of others. I feel like he gets rewarded by society for acting 'jerky.' I don't want her to be 'jerky' but I would like to see a little less doormat behavior.

In my experience, the less you care if people like you, the more they do. The more you care, the more they jerk you around. You have to stop being so concerned with what others think without being rude and antisocial. I don't feel like either of them are completely on track there. I don't know how to make either of them understand, yk?

What do you do when one sibling sees the other one repeatedly rewarded for doing things they know aren't polite or kind? : At home, we remind ds when he does things that aren't polite, but all day long every day, he has people cutting him slack. And dsd acts like the first time someone is nice to her, she'll follow them around forever, even if they turn around and act nasty for the next week.

I know I can't control the outside world, but I feel like I need to teach them both to act differently among their peers.
post #11 of 32
I have a dsd 5 and a dss 6. DSD is a young 5. She was kept out of school because she just missed the year. DSS is in school and extremely clever and smart. DSD was conceived 4 months after DSS was born and BIOMOM resented her (from her own mouth). The whole family treats DSS like the golden boy, while DSD is left in the background. She is whiney, clingy, needy. SHe also has a HORRIBLE speech impediment and wets the bed. Her self esteem is ZIP right now. Since moving in with me full time I have really tried to put her more in the foreground. I will tell you, that is the most loving, emotionally in touch child I have ever met. She loves to organize things and help me with house work. She colors beautifully with her own style. I feel as though there is a constant struggle between the two of them and more importantly, internally in Aaliyah because she feels like a baby and less important than Joey.

It hurts me to see this in my step child. Nevermind my own child

My brother and I are in a similar situation. He was always a perfectionist and very goal driven. He is a famous chef now and I cannot tell you all the attention and time my parents put into him. My dad and him never got along and my dad spent my entire childhood resenting me for not being a boy and trying to connect with my brother. I wanted to fish and hunt and be the apple of daddy's eye but I never got that. He never cared. TO this day my parents brag about Alex and I am left to feel like I am the disapointment. I have bi polar disorder and it has been a struggle for me to find my way in life. Iam the head case. the flighty one, the embarrassment. It still hurts to this day and has impacted me in so many ways. I just wish my parents could be proud of who I am, instead I embarrass them with my different ideas. My mom is embarrassed by my ideas on birth and my goal to become a homebirth midwife and a doula and start my own organization against circumcision. It's ok for me to do it, but I cannot talk about it in mixed company. My ideas scare ppl and make them feel bad. She doesn't even care to talk to me about any of it, most of the time. Anyway, just a perspective.
post #12 of 32
I was the foster sister of girls who were biologically related to my foster parents. They were all very loud and funny, and sometimes I felt left out. The best thing someone could have done for me would have been to form a strong relationship with me. I have a cousin who has a very shy daughter 8 years old, and when company is around, her dd will whisper in her mother's ear. Her mother answers back to her softly, respecting that she is a private person, and I have seen this turn her into a more social kid. I guess what I am saying is that if you respect her personality and are sensitive to her, she will may become a bit more social because she will have the confidence that she is respected and loved.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
It's been awhile, but to add to the discussion:

For the entire three years of my marriage, I have been concerned that my husband has told my stepdaughter how much better she is than my daughter. (Please don't take that sentence wrong, I'm just trying to keep this short) Granted, I didn't feel it was ever in those exact words. It's just that my stepdaughter would show confidence that seemed so uncharacteristic for her age. Confidence is great for a kid but her's.....my gut always told me "somethings not right here". I have always made it VERY clear to my husband, over the entirety of our marriage, that these kind of things should not be discussed or told to my stepdaughter. He agreed and promised he had not nor would he ever do such a thing.

Well. My SD takes baton. My husband picks her up. The crazyiest thing happened. I called my husband on my cell at the same time he was calling me, so I "clicked" over to answer. We talked for a minute and hung up. My phone rang back. It was his phone. I don't know how that happened but it did. At first I was hollering "hey dork, your phone's on!". He couldn't hear me but I could hear everything and boy did I hear everything.

He told my stepdaughter things like "When you get better at something, you get exceptionally better. And, when (name, my daughter) gets better at something, she gets a little better." He really did punch that exceptionally word too.

My step-daughter started saying something like can you please get me a new sister? Please? And he replied "It's kinda like a love me love my cat kinda thing. I'm sorry there's nothing I can do" He also told her he was doing the best that he could to improve (name, my daughter).

I listened to about 20 minutes of this kind of talk......face red, my entire body shaking with anger. Even thinking of it now, my hands are shaking.

I hung up and called his cell. I said "Honey.........were you just talking about (name, my daughter)?" He said "No." I said "Would you be willing to stake our marriage on that fact?" Can you believe it he said "Yes".

Apoligies and arguments followed and my daughter and I stayed at my brother's for the weekend.

I do NOT want to end my marriage but how can I trust him now? He has promised never to talk like that but, like I mentioned above. This is the exact thing that I asked him about for the entirety of our marriage....."You're not telling (stepdaughter) these kind of things, are you?"

Just to make sure we're clear....I do not think my stepdaughter is better than my daughter.

It hurts me so much to know that my husband compared my daughter to his daughter and told her......uncensored. He never mentioned, in his little discussion, the ways that DD was better than SD. He only discussed how SD was better than DD.

WHAT DO I DO?
post #14 of 32
Oh, gosh. I am so sorry. I don't have any advice, but am just horrified that your dh has done/is doing this. That kind of talk is damaging to both girls. If he cannot see that... I am at a loss for words.

That is a very poisonous atmosphere to be growing up in. Protect your daughter.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotamom View Post
I listened to about 20 minutes of this kind of talk......face red, my entire body shaking with anger. Even thinking of it now, my hands are shaking.

I hung up and called his cell. I said "Honey.........were you just talking about (name, my daughter)?" He said "No." I said "Would you be willing to stake our marriage on that fact?" Can you believe it he said "Yes".

I'm so sorry. I don't know what advice to give, but I think your family needs to get help. That is not healthy for either child.
post #16 of 32
Your dh has some serious problems. I don't even know what to say. I agree with Mary Beth though, some kind of help is needed.
post #17 of 32
That's incredibly inappropriate of him to speak that way to his dd and about your dd. Poor judgment, poor parenting skills, I don't know. I just know my jaw hit the floor when I read that.

Something needs to change. He may not mean to, but he's poisoning the relationship between your daughters and he's doing both girls a tremendous disservice.
post #18 of 32
Ouch and Yuck. I think from your earlier post that probably you intuitivly knew something was going on but how yucky to find out this is what it is. I have no advice but think that you seem good at figuring out what needs to happen to protect your daughter. Hugs and good luck
post #19 of 32
dakotamom.

I honestly don't know if I would be able to go back home after that.

I'm angry for you.
post #20 of 32

If he didn't agree to go to family and marriage

counseling IMMEDIATELY, he would be OUT THE DOOR or else I would be!!! I could never trust a man again who not only lied to me for three years, but so obviously does not love your daughter. This isn't a matter of preference, or being more comfortable with his own daughter, this is nasty and cruel. To say that he HAS to tolerate your daughter to stay married to you, and allowing his daughter to ask for a new sister (what, are you supposed to smother the other one?) is so unbelievable to me that I can't even wrap my head around it.

This situation has the potential to REALLY damage both girls, but ESPECIALLY your daughter! I would absolutely make up a list of non-negotiable ground rules, but honestly, and as a Christian I don't say this lightly, I think I would be bootin' him to the curb-FAST!!!

Blessings and good thoughts going your way,
moms222
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